11.10.2007

L.A.’s Un/Freeways: Collectivized Practices in the Dispersed City
Thursday November 15th || 9 AM - 3 PM

UCLA Downtown Labor Center
675 S. Park View St., 1st Floor
Los Angeles, California 90057-3306
(213) 480.4155

Join local and international artists and activists for a day of discussion and intergenerational dialogue about feminist and women-led collective practices.

9-10 AM one-hour-share Bring materials from your own or others’ projects to display and share. Bring documents, printed matter, images, or proposals that are records of you what you’ve done (or hope to do) or of others’ work that inspires you.

10-11 AM ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ACTIVISM AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZING IN EAST L.A.

Mothers of East Los Angeles | MELA is an environmental justice public interest organization whose mission is “to protect the environment and public health, defend the interests of the East Los Angeles community, and achieve justice for communities of color and working-class communities.” With Mothers Mary Lou Trevis, Teri Griffin, and Lucy Delgado.

El Proyecto Jardín is a community garden in Boyle Heights that sponsors the monthly market Mercado Caracol. With Daisy Tonantzin, community activist artist and Program Developer and Organizer for Proyecto Jardín.

11 AM-12:30 CREATING AND DOCUMENTING FEMINIST CULTURES

Kirsten Dufour is a feminist artist, activist, and writer living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since the 1960s she has created and participated in numerous groups and socio-aesthetic projects that all attempt to unite artistic and political practice. In 2002 she began LET THEM SPEAK NOW, a growing archive of video interviews with feminist artists and activists from different generations and different countries.

Make/shift magazine is a collectively-run magazine that is committed to antiracist, transnational, and queer perspectives and embraces the multiple and shifting identities of feminist communities. With Jessica Hoffmann, a member of make/shift’s editorial collective, and Irina Contreras, make/shift staff writer and founding editor of LOUDmouth.

1:30-3 PM CARVING SUBJECTIVITIES IN / OUT OF LOS ANGELES

Butchlalis de Panochtitlan | BdP is a multimedia performance ensemble of butch dykes / transgender butches / genderqueer speaking subjects that explore and make legible the liminal space of female biology and testosterone-taking transexuality and the identities, communities and neighborhoods these subjects claim and are claimed by. BdP is Mari Garcia, Raquel Gutierrez, and Claudia Rodriguez.

Gloria Alvarez is a Chicana poet, community based artist/activist, literary translator, curator, educator, and mentor to generations of Latina artists. Former member of Chicana art collectives Eastside Artistas (ESA) and L.A. Coyotas.

Yreina Cervantez is an artist, educator, and former member of Eastside Artistas.

Womyn Image Makers | WIM Four Xicana/Indigenous independent filmmakers and artists who base their collaborations on a collective creative process that respects the community element of filmmaking and challenges the hierarchies of conventional filmmaking. WIM is Maritza Alvarez, Aurora Guerrero, Dalila Mendez and Claudia Mercado.

This event will be held in English & Spanish with simultaneous English & Spanish translation provided.

L.A.’s Un/Freeways is part of TRÁNSITOry PÚBLICO | PUBLICo TRANSITorio, a public event series that brings together interventionist art groups, militant research and activist collectives, artists, and educators from throughout Latin America and Southern California. TRÁNSITOry PÚBLICO events will be held throughout Los Angeles from November 13th-20th. For more information please see
www.publicotransitorio.com
Contact Jennifer Flores Sternad
jf@post.harvard.edu (303) 204.0003

After L.A.’s Un/Freeways, TRÁNSITOry PÚBLICO will continue at 6:30 PM at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in the Ahmanson Auditorium. 250 South Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A.

L.A.’s Un/Freeways: Collectivized Practices in the Dispersed City is organized by Cara Baldwin, Sandra de la Loza, Maria Karlsson, Jennifer Flores Sternad, and Christina Ulke.

TRÁNSITOry PÚBLICO is sponsored by a grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts and co-sponsored by the UCLA Latin American Institute; UCLA Center for the Study of Women; Art Department, UCLA; Latin American Cinemateca Los Angeles; MFA: Public Practice Program at Otis College of Art and Design; UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center; University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC Mexus); Visual Arts Department, University of California San Diego; World Arts and Cultures Department, UCLA.

How to get to the Downtown Labor Center:

The Downtown Labor Center is located directly across from Macarthur Park on South Park View St., just south of Wilshire Blvd. between Wilshire and 7th Street.
Park View St. is parallel to Alvarado Street, four blocks to its west.

SUBWAY: Westlake / Macarthur Park station (Red and Purple lines)
From the station, walk west to cross Alvarado. Walk 3.5 blocks, crossing the park, to the Labor Center. See www.metro.net

BUS: The Labor Center is near many local bus lines, including the Metro RAPID, which stops on Alvarado and Wilshire, and the DASH Pico Union / Echo Park route, which stops at the Westlake / Macarthur Park subway station (and costs only 25 cents). www.metro.net & www.ladottransit.com

PARKING: Free parking around the Labor Center is scarce. There are meters on Park View in front of the Center, but be warned that parking officers are always close by to issue tickets. Paid parking is available in the structure adjacent to the Center and in the Athena Parking lot on Carondolet St. & Wilshire Blvd.

11.09.2007

this am -- blown away my kaia sand's tea bag poem from dusie chapbook collecive

was stuck int he envelope in which the sewn chapbook was in; I was taking notes on air compressors (min. 6 cfm @ 90 psi. sander, sandblaster, nailer, stapler, paint).

tiny arctic ice; in the acknowledgements she lists books she was reading --

we send ... leaves:

11.08.2007

Hi. I would like to inform you, especially those who are not in the U.S. and may not know or care, that the Writers Guild of America is on strike.

I would also like to encourage some conversation, debate, and support for the WGA writers.

The Writers Guild is one of the few white collar/artistic labor unions. Of the others, while most SAG (Screen Actors Guild) members are respecting the picket lines, the DGA (Directors Guild) is not. The Hollywood Teamsters, and also individual Teamsters, are also not crossing picket lines.

The last writers' strike, which lasted five months, gave rise to reality tv (which requires fewer, and more easily non-union, writers). This writers' strike will take an estimated 1 billion dollars a month from the US economy. GE, Sony, Time Warner, etc. -- are diversified and multinational enough not to care.

The debates are many:

- residuals for online screenings or downloads -- not about napster-esque stealing and swapping: the studios are running television shows and feature films on their own websites without paying the writers residuals. they are additionally saying that these are "experiments" for "marketing purposes" while 1) one cable network runs all of its film programming ad-free and pays residuals according to contract formulas, 2) part of this marketing is building share for the network and for the shows, which should be compensated, 3) we are no longer in the experimental phase of internet advertising, broadband, etc.

- residuals for the creative offspring of film and tv: so-called "baby writers" are exploited by the networks, and regular staff writers are required, to write webisodes for existing shows for internet-only showings. neither the creators of the characters, situations -- the show -- nor the writers of the webisodes are paid residuals. sometimes, they're not paid for writing them.

- do not be fooled by studios saying they want to pay residuals to writers, actors after shows or films make a profit. studios, now all part of large corporations, are now able to manipulate the books so that shows officially never show a profit. for example, the simpsons, one of the most popular and longest-running television shows thus far, and one with only voice actors, is officially still in the red.

- the WGA has been forced to make significant cuts in its union health care benefit, especially to writers who live outside Los Angeles, and has extended the number of working years to become fully vested in the health benefits.

At any one time, less than 5% of the WGA members are working. the average WGA member makes less money per year from writing than a minor league hockey player. [there have been some ravings I've heard about the average salary being close to what the average first team major league male athlete makes: not so]
Hi Catherine---


thank you for your take on this (I'm backchanneling because I used my allotment today)
Knowing people in the industry, you have a different take...
I like to think I'm pro-union, and want some solidarity with other writers, etc.


Yet, I have so many playwright friends who tried to get into TV (once the NEA cuts crippled playwrighting)
who might now have an opportunity...

My husband was a playwright. He had to find work, of course. Not that he doesn't still write experimental plays and fiction. Not that he loves the movies he's been able to see through the process. But hey, Suzan Lori-Parks: Girl 6. Need I say more? He got a job leveraging his knowledge of form and dialog and character development that will last until he allows his grey hair to show. His union covers health insurance, which we need. Part of what he had to do was 1) move from New York where his then-partner -- me -- had a six figure career, 2) spend his life savings, 3) take a "class" at a studio. The studio charged him money for this "class" (even though he has two advanced degrees, productions, etc.) so that they could hire him below scale after the class.

But something else is going on with the webisodes: our government, in its infinite wisdom, gave certain rights to creative material "created for" to the studios, as though they were, say, marketing brochures, rather than, say, characters. So then, there's this erosion of rights to writing.

This is essentially like the word processing job (another field that I think should be unionised) I had once; even though I had degrees, five years of wp, etc. behind me, I had to work for free for two weeks as "training." It chansed off my other part time jobs, and made me dependent on a single one. So I guess, if your friends want to break into a business that, on average, doesn't pay a living wage, takes the rights to your work, fires you when you're 50, and -- without a union -- doesn't give you health insurance, pension, or other benefits...


I think about how the "musicians strike" of the 40s had the effect (unwittingly) of leading to both the birth of be-bop as well as of early rock and roll.

Our current house was owned from 1941 until about 1989 by a family headed by a former musician and orchestra manager -- I think he was associated with Tito Puente and many others. I think the story is that he would not let the orchestra have uncompensated practice outside of union-controlled locations & time-frames -- during that strike. Anyways, he was never a musician or orchestra manager again, and sold golf equipment for the rest of his life.

Before that it was owned by the head of the west coast for Western Electric. During WWII he was promoted from movies to... defense contracting....

Not so much a fan of much of the writing that is done for hollywood product today, there's a side to me that hopes that maybe this strike
could lead to the industry taking a little more chances in terms of content.

They have just fired the production staffs. Those will no longer be salaried positions. If the last strike gave us reality tv, because it is largely unacted and unwritten, how can studio motivation this time be toward more risk? Part of the strike is to try to help break the monopoly six conglomerates have over creative content. Monopoly = no risk. Companies tend toward monopoly.

That probably won't happen when media conglomerates are owned by defense contractors.

Universal = NBC = GE. What does general electric make?

GE requires Universal to interview 6 off-shore engineers for each open engineering position. Even when the position requires native-speaker English language skills. I know; I wrote about their proprietary residuals system the last time I worked for them (no one was on strike). As a consultant. The engineers who didn't need English skills were brought onto the lot in on a bus everyday from the corporate dorm they were housed in.
He noted that CBS prime-time shows such as the “CSI” series, “Criminal Minds” and “Two and a Half Men” lend themselves fairly well to repeats. Viacom’s Paramount Pictures studio has a slate of already-produced films that should last it for a good while, he said.

Redstone made the remarks in an interview following a speech he gave at a media conference in Manhattan. A main theme of his speech was the importance of respect for copyrights in an industry beset with piracy and illegal digital downloading. Earlier this year, Viacom filed a $1-billion lawsuit against YouTube and its corporate parent, Google Inc., stemming from unauthorized posting of such Viacom shows as “The Colbert Report” and “South Park” on YouTube.

Redstone was asked whether there was any tension between Viacom’s view that copyright owners are entitled to compensation and its opposition to the writers union’s demand to be paid for digital versions of their creations.

“There’s no tension, no,” Redstone said. “They are creators of copyright material, and that material is protected. The disagreement –- and there are always disagreements in business -– is to what extent and where they are compensated.”

11.07.2007

Hi. I would like to inform you, especially those who are not in the
U.S.
and may not know or care, that the Writers Guild of America is on
strike.

I would also like to encourage some conversation, debate, and support
for
the WGA writers.

The Writers Guild is one of the few white collar/artistic labor unions.
Of
the others, while most SAG (Screen Actors Guild) members are respecting
the
picket lines, the DGA (Directors Guild) is not. The Hollywood
Teamsters,
and also individual Teamsters, are also not crossing picket lines.

The last writers' strike, which lasted five months, gave rise to
reality tv
(which requires fewer, and more easily non-union, writers). This
writers'
strike will take an estimated 1 billion dollars a month from the US
economy. GE, Sony, Time Warner, etc. -- are diversified and
multinational
enough not to care.

The debates are many:

- residuals for online screenings or downloads -- not about
napster-esque
stealing and swapping: the studios are running television shows and
feature
films on their own websites without paying the writers residuals. they
are
additionally saying that these are "experiments" for "marketing
purposes"
while 1) one cable network runs all of its film programming ad-free and
pays
residuals according to contract formulas, 2) part of this marketing is
building share for the network and for the shows, which should be
compensated, 3) we are no longer in the experimental phase of internet
advertising, broadband, etc.

- residuals for the creative offspring of film and tv: so-called "baby
writers" are exploited by the networks, and regular staff writers are
required, to write webisodes for existing shows for internet-only
showings.
neither the creators of the characters, situations -- the show -- nor
the
writers of the webisodes are paid residuals. sometimes, they're not
paid
for writing them.

- do not be fooled by studios saying they want to pay residuals to
writers,
actors after shows or films make a profit. studios, now all part of
large corporations, are now able to manipulate the books so that shows
officially never show a profit. for example, the simpsons, one of the
most
popular and longest-running television shows thus far, and one with
only
voice actors, is officially still in the red.

- the WGA has been forced to make significant cuts in its union health
care
benefit, especially to writers who live outside Los Angeles, and has
extended the number of working years to become fully vested in the
health
benefits.

At any one time, less than 5% of the WGA members are working. the
average
WGA member makes less money per year from writing than a minor league
hockey
player. [there have been some ravings I've heard about the average
salary
being close to what the average first team major league male athlete
makes:
not so]

11.05.2007

What can I do to support the WGA strike?

1) Do not cross the picket lines; do not work for any of the studios or the companies which own them, which include GE, Sony, and NewsCorp. Support the teamsters and SAG, which are honoring the picket lines.

2) Goes without saying, but: do not work as a scab writer for reality programming, talk shows, or newscasts. Do not work as a scab writer for online programming, webisodes of existing shows. Do not watch foreign programming on American network TV. Watch it on international cable.

2) Boycott reality programming, talk shows, and network news programs. Don't watch it, don't participate, don't phone in and vote, etc.

3) Boycott GE, Sony, Disney, NewsCorp. Thinking of going to Universal City Walk? Disney? Buying new GE Profile appliances? Martinis at Rock Center? Don't.

4) Continue to rent DVDs and watch scripted programming on TV. Many writers will be counting on residual checks to pay bills in the coming months.

Here are some more theorietical things:

5) Don't buy into the hype. Only 5% of WGA members work in a given year. A fraction of that number earn more than a middle class wage each year.

6) Recognise that when you watch movies or television free online, you are watching a commercial for a studio and that studio's other programming, sequel, next episode. Is that so bad? Nah. There are commercials (unless you TiVo), and soon will be commercials online too.

7) Recognise that even reality programming and talk shows are written by real human beings. Yup -- and guess who's in the reality programming shot in LA? Struggling actors.

8) Reconsider the auteur theory of directing -- the DGA is not supporting the WGA strike. Many directors will attempt to become writers in the coming months.

9) Learn about who producers are and what producers do. Writer/producers do not have to strike. That is, senior-enough writers do not have to stop work / not get paid. Thus, try not to watch programming created after today and before the strike ends.